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I may not always believe in and trust our government, but I will ALWAYS believe and trust the American Soldier.  You have taken a sacred oath to protect the many FREEDOMS that so many of us take for granted.  Please understand that I am grateful for your sacrifice(s) and your service on my behalf.  It is an honor to call you "My Countrymen".

Voice of Democracy & Patriot's Pen Contest & Teacher of the Year


Voice of Democracy Contest
Patriot's Pen Contest
Smart/Maher Citizenship Education Teacher Awards


Please ensure that your schools and other youth groups have the necessary materials and are prepared to do the Voice of Democracy, Patriot's Pen and Teacher Award Programs.

Don't hesitate to involve radio/TV stations and newspapers to help encourage and facilitate student participation, help with the judging, and generally help promote the programs. Visit your local radio & TV stations and make use of the sample Voice of Democracy and Patriot's Pen Public Service announcements that are provided online (see below for location.) 

Around mid-November, after you have chosen your Post winners, you will be ready to forward them to your respective District Chairmen. Be sure to keep in close communication with them, so you are aware of when your District judging will be occurring, and that you also know the address of where those winners should be mailed. The official Post reporting on the Voice of Democracy and Patriot's Pen is on the reverse side of the entry forms, whereas the Post reporting on the Teacher Award is by separate Post Teacher entry form (located within the Teacher Award Chairman Guide.) 

VFW Programs also provides Post Chairmen sample press releases to assist in announcing each of their Post Voice of Democracy, Patriot's Pen, and Teacher Award winners. Please be sure to notify all participants that the Post judging have been completed by sending a short letter or email, to thank them for participating. It is also a nice touch to purchase a merit certificate, plaque, or other gift from the VFW Store to present to your participants and/or winners. Every year, we receive calls at VFW national headquarters from disappointed students and teachers stating that they never had any communications at all from the sponsoring Post after they entered. 

NOTE: All resources needed for chairmen to conduct VFW national programs are now online. Simply visit, log in, and then click on Chairman’s Guides under the General Members Tools and Resources heading.

The first place state Voice of Democracy winners will travel to Washington, DC for the national finals from February 26 Thru March 2 2017. The Parade of Winners will be held on Monday February 27, 2017 where all the national winners will be announced. The first place national Patriot's Pen winner is invited to Washington, DC (to the Parade of Winners) with one parent, all-expenses paid. The first place national Smart/Maher Citizenship Education Teacher award winners (one from each category: elementary, middle and high school level) are invited to be recognized at the VFW National Convention which will be held in New Orleans, LA.

Important VFW Programs Deadline Dates

Voice of Democracy and Patriot's Pen 

Smart/Maher Citizenship Education Teacher Award 

Community Service

  • *December 1, Department 6-month Community Service Report (Department to National)
  • *April 30, Fred C. Hall Memorial & Outstanding Post Special Project (Department to National)
  • *May 1, National Outstanding Community Service Post (Department to National)
  • *June 1, Department Year-End Community Service Report (Department to National)

Public Servant National Award (Law Enforcement, Firefighter, Emergency Services)

  • January 1, Nominations from Post to Department
  • February 1, (to guarantee awards in time for Department Conventions), Nominations from Department to National

National Certificate of Recognition

  • *April 1, (to guarantee awards in time for Department Conventions), List due to National from Department

Scout of the Year

  • March 1, Scout entries to the Post
  • April 1, Post entries to Department Scouting Team Member
  • *May 1, Department entry to National from Department Scouting Team Member

*Required deadline (by VFW National Headquarters.) All other deadlines are suggested, and can be internally set at the discretion of the VFW Department leadership. 

If you need any further information or if you have any questions, please let us know...we are here to help you with anything you need. 

National Links:

Document Samples and Templates:

Voice of Democracy Audio-Essay Competition

Patriot's Pen Youth Essay Contest


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